Making a difference in older person’s health

The number of older people in New Zealand is growing rapidly. By 2031 it is predicted that more than 1 in 5 people in NZ will be aged over 65 and of these 1 in 8 people will be aged 85 or older. Of significance over the coming decades is the growing proportion of older Māori, Pacific and Asian peoples as well as other ethnic groups.

Most people aged 65+ years are fit and healthy. However, a minority are frail and vulnerable and require high levels of care and disability support. These increased needs usually arise during the last few years of life, or from chronic illness or disability that may have been present for many years.

Improving the quality of life for the older generation

Consequently Community and Public Health is committed to ensuring positive health outcomes for older people in our region. South Canterbury is the only South Island region with more than 15 percent of population aged over 65.

Here are some examples of how Community and Public Health works with older people in the community:

  • Develop and support projects that impact social isolation such as the Rockers of Ages Choirs
  • Collaborate with other agencies and networks such as Age Concern Canterbury, Elder Care Canterbury and Older Adults Network
  • Participate in and contribute to local older person-focused events including the Positive Ageing Expo and the Older Generations Forum.

Don’t let lack of transport isolate or limit you or an older family member

Age Concern Canterbury has a list of community transport services available in the Christchurch/Canterbury area if you or someone you know needs help getting around.

This includes vans or mini buses, volunteer drivers and driving services. Some services are free while others ask for a donation or charge a fee.

Transport can be provided not just for medical appointments or shopping, but also for leisure or pleasure activities, and social opportunities.

Find out about Community Transport Services in Christchurch/Canterbury or contact Age Concern Canterbury for more information (03 366 0903).

Rockers of Ages Choirs: collaboration with The Muse

Members of the Rockers of Ages Choir singing at a practice session.The Rockers of Ages is a singing group for elders and aspiring elders – any age and ability welcome. They are run by The Muse Community Music Trust with support from Community and Public Health.

The Rockers of Ages started with the aim of providing an enjoyable activity that would lift older people’s spirits and give them something positive to focus on in the aftermath of the February 2011 earthquake.

There are no auditions for these groups that sing songs from around the world including those from the last five decades in harmony. It is a chance to have a lot of fun, and it really doesn’t matter what your voice is like, or whether you think you can sing or not.

Every practice includes a time for a cup of tea and a chance to get to know other members.

The Keepsake Singers: another collaborative singing project

The Keepsake Singers is for everyone who enjoys singing songs from the past in a fun, friendly atmosphere. The Keepsake Singers is particularly welcoming to older adults and to people experiencing memory loss and dementia. Participants can suggest songs they would like to sing.

This new singing group meets on Tuesdays during the school terms. The cost is a donation of $2 to $10 per session.

Come along and relax in the enjoyment of our shared treasure of songs, while connecting with others who love to sing.

The Keepsake Singers is an initiative of The Muse Community Music Trust, with support from Alzheimers Canterbury and Community Public Health.

Kaumatua on their annual World Smokefree Day hikoi from Rehua Marae.Supporting Kaumātua in the community

Kaumātua or elders in our community have a special presence and there is no age limit. Health Promoter Christina Henderson defines kaumātua as an elder who has knowledge, shares their wisdom and whakapapa to whatever tribal affiliation they belong to. Kaumātua are people we turn to for advice and guidance and they have a number of roles in whānau, hapū and iwi.

Consequently there is also a responsibility to give back and help support kaumātua with their needs through such a relationship. One of these ways that Community and Public Health has supported local kaumātua recently was a gathering at Rehua Marae for the annual hīkoi for World Smokefree Day. We all share a love for life and to stay healthy within our means. Whanaungatanga is where we all gather and nourish our hearts with kai, laughter, karakia and waiata.



Download or order resources from the Community Health Information Centre.


Contact for more information:

Ph: +64 3 364 1777
Fax: +64 3 379 6125

Contacts for more information:

The Muse Community Music Trust
Ph: +64 3 388 0433

Older Person’s Health Specialist Service (CDHB)
Ph: +64 3 337 7899

Age Concern (Canterbury)
Ph: +64 3 366 0903

Elder Care Canterbury
Ph: +64 3 366 5472

Senior Chef
Ph: +64 3 374 1639

Age Concern (Ashburton)
Ph: +64 3 308 6817

Age Concern (South Canterbury)
Ph: +64 3 686 6844

Shingles vaccine for older adults

Shingles is a painful rash affecting a particular nerve. It is a long term effect of chickenpox many years after people recover from the disease.

Shingles usually occurs in older people and lasts from 10 to 15 days. The nerve pain can last long after the rash disappears.

A vaccine against shingles (Zostavax) is now free at age 65 in New Zealand. Anyone aged from 66 to 80 is also eligible for a free shingles vaccine until 31st March 2020.

Advance Care Planning: Having conversations that count

Advance Care Planning (ACP) is the process of thinking about, talking about and planning for future health care and end of life care.

Advance care planning gives everyone a chance to say what’s important to them. It helps older people understand what the future might hold and to say what treatment they would and would not want.

This makes it much easier for families and healthcare providers to know what the person would want – particularly if they can no longer speak for themselves.

Advance Care Planning... Let's talk... Poster (HEA0019).

Page last updated: 04/12/2019

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